The new fiddling contest planned for downtown Leitchfield in July will now carry national implications.
Organizers learned Tuesday afternoon, May 8, that the July 21 festival has received national certification. That means a new name — “Twin Lakes National Fiddlers’ Championship” — and the potential for its winners to compete at the National Oldtime Fiddlers’ Contest in Weiser, Idaho.
Steven Elder, a Leitchfield businessman and city council member who is helping organize the festival, briefed the Grayson County Tourism Commission about some of the plans Monday morning.
“We don’t want this to be a one-time deal” Elder told the commission, explaining organizers will be seeking input from contestants and like and don’t like to help ensure its success.
Three nationally certified judges — Grayson County native Mark Ralph, Junior Marriott and Bobby Taylor — will preside over the new contest. Some scaling back from the previous categories at the Official Kentucky State Championship Old Time Fiddlers Contest has been planned, to focus more on fiddling.
After word broke in April that the 2012 Official Kentucky State Championship Old Time Fiddlers Contest has been called off because a sponsor couldn’t be found, Elder and Joseph Alexander, a past winner of the state championship, teamed up with Leitchfield native and five-state fiddle champion Ed Carnes to organize another contest.
Elder has said the goal is to make this a community celebration of bluegrass music.
With lodging and camping sites still booked at Rough River State Resort Park for the weekend of July 20, they decided to keep it date roughly the same and just change the location from Rough River to Leitchfield’s Public Square.
Arrangements will be similar to those for Communicare’s “Falling for Communicare” fundraiser in November. The square will be closed to all vehicular traffic for the day and most of the evening. Vendors will be able to set up booths around the perimeter, with a stage on the east side of the old courthouse.
That would leave space in the streets for people to sit and enjoy the music — or to dance, Elder said.
Organizers have a commitment from the Rocky Top Revue Square Dance Team to perform at the contest, Elder said. The Franklin, Tenn.-based team, which has been performing for more than 25 years, has won 12 state championships. Its members blend traditional square dancing with buck dancing and modern clogging.
They are also planning on an accompanying car show and a “Fiddler Queen” contest, Elder said.